January 14, 2007
The Preservation of Nevis’ heritage was the essence of a presentation made by Premier of Nevis the Hon. Joseph Parry, at the Preview Party to launch an exhibit entitled “Alexandra Hamilton: The Man who Made Modern America”.
The event was hosted by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) on the eve of the birthday of the celebrated Nevisian American statesman on Thursday 10th January, 2008, in the courtyard of his birthplace at the Alexander Hamilton Museum in Charlestown.
Premier Parry a former History teacher, told in Nevisians and Americans gathered at the party, that Nevisians were aware of the rich cultural heritage and were proud of it.
“I am very happy that Ambassador Ourisman, Ambassador Williams and all the other participants have worked so hard to bring the exhibit here for the people of Nevis and for tourist to see. We are very proud of our heritage and very proud of what Alexander Hamilton has achieved. As you can see behind me is the building where he was born and where he lived.
“We believe that the first premier of the country Dr. Simeon Daniel was very proud of such a heritage and what he did. He not only had the building restored but he established the Nevis House of Assembly in the second floor of this particular building. We are to thank the US Government in those days under the US programme to provide the funds because it was basically a ruin and once again it has become a useful building to us,” the Premier said.
Mr. Parry noted that Nevisians had tried to revive and renew their culture when in 1983 the island took a new direction after a hundred years without government and had sought to retain the architectural integrity of the island.
“The people of Nevis have continued to work hard to preserve and conserve their culture. There is a great consciousness in terms of our buildings. It is said that we should not build our buildings more than two-storey high on the island of Nevis. Where we have any form of new development we have insisted that we do not change the landscape of the island. We have sought to develop what we call up-market tourism because of the minimal impact on the island and what we have here.
“We understand the importance of culture, we understand the importance of our heritage, we understand the need to conserve our heritage, and we also understand the need to share it with others. We in Nevis understand what history is all about and we thank Alexander Hamilton for what he did in the USA. We thank the Americans for what they are doing in Nevis and we all together can certainly build a stronger Nevis,” the Premier said.
Mr. Parry also thanked US Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Her Excellency Mrs. Mary Ourisman, St. Kitts Nevis Ambassador to the US and OAS, His Excellency Dr. Izben Williams and all who had contributed to the exhibit and expressed the hope that it would serve as a source of inspiration to Nevisians as many persons would come to view it.
Meantime, Ambassador Ourisman said she was delighted to be part of the celebration and to experience the tangible results of the gift to the NHCS.
“I am honored to be part of this celebration to celebrate one of America’s founding fathers. I am delighted that the US Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados was able to provide the Society with a grant of US$40,000 to duplicate portions of the Alexander Hamilton exhibit currently traveling to libraries across the United States,” she said.
While Ambassador Ourisman outlined reasons to honor Alexander Hamilton, she pointed to his childhood in Nevis which she said helped to shape the man who had done so much for America and it was only fitting that his legacy was honoured at his birthplace on Nevis.
Ambassador Izben Williams spoke on the importance of heritage tourism while NHCS President Marcia Myers spoke to how the exhibit found its place in the Society’s mission.
The ceremony was chaired by NHCS Executive Director Mr. John Guilbert who also served as project manager to the refurbished museum.
Also in attendance at the Preview Party were members of the Nevis Island Administration, Mr. Mandel Ourisman, husband of Ambassador Ourisman, fifth descendant of Alexander Hamilton Mr. Doug Hamilton, members of the NHCS and other invited guests.